Working on the dealer level, we know firsthand how difficult it can be as a "customer" to pay our repair order or get our own vehicles' status. Let alone what our customers go through when paying their repair order or inquiring about their status. As a customer, I wanted to pay my service repair order but was stuck on a conference call. Sure, I could call the dealership after the call, but they were on their way with my vehicle. It dawned on me if the dealer can text me to let me know my car is ready - why can't they text me with a link to pay with Apple Pay? (or for those with Google, Google Pay; there are vendors out there!). Instead, the dealer kept calling my phone until I texted my sales guy, and asked if the could tell service that I could not call them back until after my conference call, which left me a little on edge as I was trying to juggle both situations. Not to mention, the "text" notifications regarding my vehicle was "one way," and I could not reply to it. What could have been a simple, easy situation got a little frustrating. I wanted to pay the repair order and take care of it, BUT I couldn't!
We continue to talk about what "digital retailing" means, but often forget about simple fixes that could create a smooth, painless experience for our customers. Imagine this. The dealer sends you a text that your vehicle is ready, and you can click "pay" within the text message. At which point, you get a confirmation text that your RO is paid!
Instead, I had to wait until I was off the call, placed on hold for 20 minutes, to then finally pay the RO. And because the total was what was discussed earlier by a significant difference, I had to wait another 18 minutes to speak with the advisor. That's 38 minutes to simply pay an RO. All of this could have been through a text, which would have saved all of us time. I do not mind being on hold, I get that the dealer is just as busy. But imagine if I were able to text the question regarding the new total, get the reply, pay, and be done?
And look, this pain point certainly does not mean I (or our customers) won't go back to the dealer, I will. But it's these pain points that create a distraction to the customer. Working on the dealer level, you often see the customer calling you before calling them with an update. If you can effectively manage the updates in near real-time, you are proactively communicating with the customer before they contact you. In doing so, the customer might even be more inclined to purchase more since they are not distracted by worrying or thinking about their vehicle's status - or the process of paying for their car. Especially if the customer is picking up their vehicle after service closes. That's another topic for another article.
So, how do we make this happen? What's holding us dealers back from making a move to offer online or payments via phone? There are vendors out there doing this - and think about it, regardless of the customer paying online or at the dealership, you still pay fees. Sure there is a fee to use the service, but imagine how much time we as dealers could save if we were not tied up on the phones taking payments/explaining charges? This also brings up another concern, which is taking credit card payments over the phone. Taking payments over the phone is not only a security issue, but there are also other security issues to think about. If the customer does not actively insert their "chip" into the card reader, they can easily dispute the charge online. Whereas, if they use the app on their behalf, there is now a paper trail, making it a little harder for the customer to abuse credit disputing.
Bottom Line: If we can minimize one pain point at a time, imagine how this will impact our customer's experience? Imagine how much easier we are making it for our customers to do business with us? Imagine how much time we would be saving on the dealer level? Not to mention, this goes back to bringing the dealership to the customer. Instead of the dealership interrupting the customer playing phone tag, it could have all been done in a few texts. If this is the one change your dealer makes this year, it is a change well worth the effort!
For those dealers that have launched a mobile/online payment system, what kind of success have you seen with it?